Monday 26 August 2019

Boot camp - 'your perfect wardrobe must-have pieces'

Blazer, €39.99; trousers, €24.99, both H&M.T-shirt, €25, River Island. Henley boots, €160, Courtney Smith X Shoe Lab. Ring, €369, Chupi
Blazer, €39.99; trousers, €24.99, both H&M.T-shirt, €25, River Island. Henley boots, €160, Courtney Smith X Shoe Lab. Ring, €369, Chupi

Liadan Hynes

Courtney Smith had been on friendly terms with Neil McCarthy and Audrey Murray of Buffalo Shoe Lab for years when the idea of a collaboration came about. She wore the label herself, and she used their shoes in her work as a stylist. So synonymous was Courtney with the brand that last year they nicknamed a green military boot after her, calling it the Coco boot.

That got the conversation rolling, and suddenly banter about possible collaborations turned into serious speculation over the possibility of Courtney designing a line for the company. "It basically started as a joke over coffee one day that kind of became a reality," Courtney recalls.

Once Courtney, Neil and Audrey decided to work on creating a line together, the decision to do just boots was an obvious one, Courtney says. "I'm constantly wearing boots. That's kind of what I would be known for in my own personal style," she explains.

Courtney is, of course, one of Ireland's top stylists and studied fashion design. Buffalo Shoe Lab is the Irish franchise of German shoe company Buffalo. Manufactured in Spain, the Courtney Smith X Shoe Lab is now a limited-edition collection, available in Ireland and online.

Audrey Murray, head designer and buyer for Buffalo Shoe Lab, worked with Courtney on the line. The two quickly discovered a shared affinity for all things 1970s, which went on to inform the entire range; each of the styles is named after a musical icon from that decade.

"We're both obsessed with the 1970s" says Courtney. "Audrey is a massive Bowie fan; I'm a massive Stevie Nicks fan. So the range is a bit 1970s, a bit rock 'n' roll, with a definite vintage nod."

While Courtney's work includes styling everything from men's and women's fashions to swimwear and exercise gear, her personal style heavily favours the aesthetic of her beloved 1970s, a preference she traces back to the wardrobe of her own mum, well-known blogger, 'Over the Hilda'.

"My mum would have had the most amazing dresses from the 1970s, and I grew up getting dressed up in them," Courtney recalls. "I assume that's where it initially grew from. Obviously, as I got older, my style has evolved, but I always go back to those 1970s icons. The big flowy dresses and the chunky boots."

The Courtney Smith X Shoe Lab line - modelled on these pages by Courtney - consists of eight styles of boot, and prices from the range go from €155-€240. There are high-heeled ankle boots called Ava for Bowie's muse Ava Cherry; Suzie Q, which are block-heeled ankle boots; knee-high boots in black leather or grey suede, which are the Stevie; flat lace-up ankle boots called Jagger and thigh-high boot called Kate (Bush, of course).

Essentially all you could ever want in a boot. Or as Courtney herself puts it; "your perfect wardrobe must-have pieces."

Photography by Evan Doherty

Styling by Aideen Feely

Words by Liadan Hynes

Fashion edited by  Constance Harris

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